01 Dec MSCDirect Switches It Up
In May 2017, we covered the MSC Directs new homepage changes. Looking today, they’ve made some more changes in design, placement and functionality.
MSC continues to iterate on their homepage – in some ways getting more and more simple, in some ways getting more complex. Here’s where they’ve come since May.
Overall Homepage Changes
- Main marketing banner gets taller
- New email signup in the footer
- Social media icons are now in the footer
- Content blocks change:
- “Recently Viewed Products” move from the bottom of the page to the top
- Marketing blocks changes from 2 rows of images, to a mix of images and text
- “Categories that interest you” move to the bottom of the page
- “Add to cart” buttons got lighter – now white with a gray outline
- Category name text color changes from black to bright blue
- Footer got darker – for more contrast and better readability
The main navigation continues to get stripped down to its essentials.
- The overall height is reduced
- Increased white space so search and signin information are easier to find
- Contact us information (chat, phone number) has been simplified and consolidated to the top right
- Sign in/My Account is moved closer to the navigation bar so that it’s inline with the cart and doesn’t float above the navigation
- Icons are removed from main navigation menu, removing visual clutter
- Items highlighted in bright blue is more selective – just highlighting Sign In/Register and Quick Order
- The “Virtual Big Book” – their online PDF is gone! From the homepage and as a reference on the product detail page.
MSC has rolled out a new functionality, tied with the “Recently Viewed” products (which shows as “Top Sellers” if you haven’t visited the site). Clicking on the carat by “More Like This” opens a row of related products. Here, we selected the Gatorade Ice Chest, which displays related products below. All products have a quick “Add to cart” button and a way to get to the product detail page by clicking on the MSC part number, highlighted in bright blue. This is an interesting opportunity to cross-sell and merchandise on the homepage.
- From a user experience perspective, these changes are a mixed bag. Cleaning up the main navigation is a clear move in a direction of easier usability. However, the presentation of the marketing banners is now harder to scan and understand quickly.
- The choice to move product categories to the bottom of the page is a change we’ll be following – will this placement be a barrier for visitors looking for new or different products than the ones they previously viewed?
- We’ll also be following the “More Like This” function – it’s pretty subtle presentation – to see if it become more prominent or if it goes away. Because we know MSC Direct is constantly iterating and adjusting, it’s an ongoing source for watching and learning.
- The Virtual Big Book going away is a big deal. It signals a move towards a focus on online experience – rather than legacy initiatives – to show the value of MSCDirect today.